Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

*This post was originally written in 3-17-2008. I wanted to re-post it for those of you looking for a fun way to celebrate this year :) My kiddos still talk about it.

Those tricky leprechauns somehow turned all the water in our faucets green this AM! The toilets flushed green water, too! It was a big mystery for a while but then the boys started to figure bits and pieces of it out. They guessed that the Leprechauns must have put green paint or something in the faucets. After a lot of fun and teasing I brought out the fizzy tablets from Steve Spangler that does this. They had fun mixing the colors…Carter did not know that yellow and blue make green…I just assumed he learned that in Kindergarten (maybe he was absent that day, lol). Connor remembered back to 4th grade where I taught him chromatography and made black with the primary colors. Thank you Leprechauns for the fun color reminder and for leaving us extra fizzy tabs to play with! ;)

My Favorite Science Gifts

Oh my! I am such a slacker! A few weeks ago (ok, maybe more than a few) I received another AWESOME package from Steve Spangler Science full of goodies from their holiday gift guide.

Here is what was in my box when I opened it:

Galileo Thermometer & Barometer

I absolutely, positively love this. We have it set up in the living room. It came with great instructions on how to set it up. The kids are having a lot of fun comparing this to the digital weather station we have. I was really excited about it because we have long called Carter our little barometer as the weather change often sets off a shunt headache for him. We are using this to compare the changes with his headaches. Plus, it just looks so cool!

Mentos Geyser Tube

Steve also sent me over the new depth charge for the mentos geyser as well as the traditional release contraption he first came out with. We had a lot of fun with both but prefer the new depth charge one. It essentially sinks the mentos to the bottom for the explosion to start.

Air Burst Rockets

Incredibly high shooting rocket. It can fly 600 feet in the air. Need I say more? If there is a more perfect toy for boys, I don’t what it would be. We had to take it to the park around the corner. I didn’t get video of my kiddos with it but this one from the boys at Steve’s office is pretty amazing:

Boom Splat Kablooey – Klutz Book

This one is under the tree. Shhhh…….

Disclosure: As noted Steve Spangler Science provided me with these products to review at no charge. I do truly, truly love Steve Spangler Science which is why I write about them as I often as I do:)

New Mythbusters Science Kits

A few weeks ago the boys and I were poking around Borders and we spied some new science kits from Mythbusters. We all love Mythbusters in this family. It is one of the first shows that I recommend to homeschool families, especially ones with boys. It is no secret that I am a science geek but the messaging in Mythbusters is what I truly love. The show promotes the message that it is not only OK to make mistakes in science, but sometimes it is preferred. So many of our inventions have come from ‘mistakes’. But in a world where kids are constantly drilled the ‘right’ answer I fear we have created a generation of kids afraid to make mistakes. Public schools don’t have time to let kids figure things out on their own, so when they do have ‘science’ they have to make sure that the kids get the ‘right’ answer all wrapped up in a 45 minute class period. Which of course, usually means spoon feeding them the answers. This is where we, as homeschoolers, have a real opportunity to change things for our kids. We can let them wonder, ponder, try, fail, leave it, come back to it, and try again as much as we like. It is precisely this reason that I love Mythbusters for showing kids that the way real scientists work. But, yet, I digress off on another tangent….

OK, so even with my love of Mythbusters, I was not about to shell $19.99 for a kit. So, I filed it away as something fun to look at later, when they went on sale! I was surprised that week when I got an email from Marie at Team Mom Media asking if she could send me one to review (funny how the universe does things like that) and I readily jumped.

She sent us the Weird World of Water kit. This is what the kit contains:

The kit contains most things you need for the experiments. The boys wanted to do this one:

which is essentially a bottle rocket but they were sad to find out I didn’t have any baking soda in the house. They settled on creating a vortex. I have done this one plenty of times in the classroom and surprised they had never done it in public school. It is so easy to do. You just take two 2-liter bottles and connect them together. You use a fancy little screw cap that comes in the kit (or you can buy for $5 at any teaching store).  I have even heard tale that duct taping them together real tight works. This is the effect of putting momentum on the top bottle (giving it a little swirl)

The boys were fascinated with it and kept it going for a while putting in glitter and then beads that came in the kit.
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I promised them that I would go get baking soda so they can do the pantry rocket soon. So, would I recommend this? Yes! With the caveat that I think the price point is too high. The book is the best part of it and does a wonderful job explaining the concepts in true Mythbusters style. $9.99-$14.99 is probably a better price point so if you can find it on sale, go for it! I know Target, Walmart and ToysRUs are selling it as well as Borders. The age range of my boys was just about right (11 and 13). It is made for kids 9 and up. Just be sure to have baking soda on hand….